What Are Sand Fleas? Everything You Should Know

sand fleas

After hearing the scary story of sand fleas you are curious about what is a sand flea? Don’t worry just relax and read this article, because today you will understand every important fact about these creepy crawlers. I am going to explain how to identify these small crustaceans, what is their appearance, are sand fleas harmful, etc. You will come to know about the shape, size, color, and many more of these tiny creatures further. So let us start reading about the sand fleas and know the details without skipping any point.

What Are Sand Fleas?

Sand fleas are small creatures found in the sand or on the beach areas. They are also called sand hoppers, sand crab, small crab, sand bugs, mole crabs, etc. It is one of the types of crustaceans that look like a crab. An exoskeleton is located on their body which protects them and works like a shell. They mostly reside in sandy areas, damp soil, near coastal regions, and beaches. Feathery antennae are seen on them that are used to filter the organic dead material and foreign particles.

Let us see more details about the sand bug fleas in further.

Characteristic Of Sand Fleas

Below I have described the size, color, shape, etc which will help you in identification to know what do sand fleas look like in real life.

  1. Size

The average beach sand fleas size is about 0.3 inches to 1.5 inches in length. Rarely they can grow more than 1.5 inches to 2 inches. The females are bigger than the males sand flea species.

  1. What Color Are Sand Fleas?

Colour of what are Parris islands sand fleas like can be dark black to dark brown or light tan. The females which carry the eggs have an orange to pink color in reproductive season.

  1. Structure

The tiny sand fleas have five pairs of legs below their stomach. For filtering the debris from the food they have two feathery antennae. There is one telson known as a digger which protects its soft belly and helps in processes like digging and anchoring the sand. It has gills for breathing just like other crustacean crabs.

  1. Shape

The shape of what are sand fleas in ocean coasts are like a barrel however, it looks similar to the crab but does not have claws.

Where Are Sand Fleas Found?

You will mostly find sand fleas In areas of the beach, sea coast, sandy marshes, mud, etc. they stay by making burrows where they hide by digging holes. By using the telson they anchor and hold the place for a long time. The sand bugs are easily visible in the areas where wave hits the shore of the beach. It is because the sand bug fleas have gills and use oxygen to survive.

Are Sand Fleas Dangerous?

Yes, sand mole crabs are dangerous what are sand fleas good for is biting you on the skin. As they can leave a red bump with inflammation and irritating welts on your body. The area where sand flea bites feel severe itching. You should remain careful while walking on the beach or sitting in the sand from the sand hoppers. The bite mark can remain for several days and can get dark in color.

Why Do Sand Fleas Bite?

Sand fleas bite in the search of food or the search of the breeding area. They will bite you and suck the fresh blood to complete their meal just like mosquitoes. However, females may bite for another reason that is breeding. Sometimes you must think about what are sand fleas on dogs doing, but they may find a host for hatching their eggs.

Even after taking precautions if you get bitten by sand flea then you can treat yourself with the following treatment.

How To Treat Sand Flea Bite?

For the bite by sand fleas treatment of anti-itching cream is useful. The ointment or the cream which contains hydrocortisone is good for treating the inflammation as well as pain in the bitten area. To reduce the itching at the sand crab bite spot use aloe vera gel is a better option. You can find jumbo sand fleas bites pictures over the internet for better understanding.

Uses Of Sand Fleas

Here I have described what are sand fleas used for in common. Let’s see.

  • They are used as baits for fishing purposes.
  • In some regions of the world sand fleas edible like shrimps are enjoyed as snacks.

How To Catch Sand Fleas?

You will need a scoop or sand rake which is used to clean beach or pool surfaces to catch sand flea crabs. Find out the shore and point where waves go back to sea after hitting the coast. You can find the sand flea moles resting in small burrows on the same surface. Now, use the sand flea rake to scrap out the sand mole fleas immediately from the wet sand. After washing them with some water they can be stored within the damp and cool environment and can be used whenever needed.

Fishing With Sand Fleas

The fishermen’s popular baits are what are sand fleas in crab fishing known for commercial fishing. Catching of several fishes is possible because of the sand crab baits. It is very simple to insert the fishing hook into the sand flea hence, making it one of the best trap baits for fishes.

Lifespan Of Sand Fleas

Maximum 2 to 3 years is the life cycle of what are jumbo sand fleas live in the sand. They can spawn eggs in their early itself. However, the eggs have an orange to pinkish color which is hatched inside larvae and remains for around 3 to 4 months.


Do Sand Fleas Bite Humans?

Yes, sand fleas do bite humans for two main reasons as follows:

  • In search of fresh blood meal
  • For hatching the eggs in the skin

What Do Sand Fleas Do To Humans?

Sand fleas can stick to the skin and suck the fresh blood from the humans or can use them as their nesting burrow. They can leave injury in the form of red acne or inflamed bump with itching.

How Do You Know If You Have Sand Fleas?

You can identify the structure, shape, size, color of the sand flea to know if you have them with you.

How Do You Get Sand Fleas?

You can get sand flea bugs at the shore where waves retrieve back to the ocean after hitting the coast. The sand fleas can be removed from the same region of the sea coast with the help of a sand flea rake.

Can Sand Fleas Come Home With You?

Sand fleas are extremely small – usually less than an inch in length, and typically have a dark color and large thick antennae. Anywhere there is sand or a beach, you can find sand fleas – but they can also travel home with you, meaning you might find sand fleas in your home in Arizona!

Do I Need To Worry About Sand Fleas?

Some bites from tiny organisms called sand fleas (that are actually crustaceans) are pretty harmless. But other types of sand fleas (usually those in rural, underdeveloped areas), called chigoe fleas, can cause serious skin problems, bacterial infections and diseases.


Today we discussed brief information on the sand fleas. You understood how are they looking, with their tiny structure. Now you will be able to identify them easily when you see them next time on the beach. I explained points like whether can you eat sand fleas or not, what happens after sand bug flea bite, etc. You will be able to use the sand flea as fishing baits. Now you have come to know what are sand fleas in general.

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